Peyton Manning Hired Private Investigators to Look into HGH Allegations

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2016

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning speaks to reporters in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Days before Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is scheduled to step onto the field at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, for a Super Bowl 50 showdown with the Carolina Panthers, a report from the Washington Post's Will Hobson and Justin Wm. Moyer shed light on a visit investigators paid to the home of former Guyer Institute intern Charlie Sly on Manning's behalf. 

According to Hobson and Moyer, Manning's lawyers "hired investigators to identify, locate and interrogate Sly" after Al Jazeera's documentary, The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers, alleged that the legendary quarterback was prescribed human growth hormone and had it addressed to his wife, Ashley. 

Sly—who was secretly recorded by former British hurdler Liam Collins—alleged several prominent pro athletes, including Manning, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, used HGH.

However, the former Guyer Institute employee has since recanted all of his allegations in a statement filmed in collaboration with his lawyer, Travis Cohron: 

"It was pure puffery," Cohron said of Sly's statements in the Al Jazeera piece, according to Hobson and Moyer. "He was manufacturing a story to bolster his own appearance."

Hobson and Moyer also revealed Ashley Manning did, in fact, have an unspecified medication shipped to her house, according to Ari Fleischer, who has served as the couple's crisis-management consultant:

Citing Ashley’s right to privacy, Fleischer declined to specify whether the medication was human growth hormone, which is banned by professional sports leagues and only legal to prescribe in America for a few specific conditions, such as growth hormone deficiency, HIV wasting syndrome and short bowel syndrome. 

Fleischer also told Hobson and Moyer the investigation facilitated by Manning's lawyers was a "natural reaction" to the "anonymous allegations." 

"We’ve never said he [Sly] had everything wrong," Fleischer said, per Hobson and Moyer. "We just said what he said about Peyton was wrong. It’s like the saying. ... Someone with a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing."

According to Cohron, Sly has been cooperating with investigators from the NFL and Major League Baseball since the report aired.